AmeriCorps volunteers big part of Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Festival

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 21, 2006

Putting together a successful community event like the Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest takes a lot of time, dedication and patience.

These are qualities the local AmeriCorps team of community volunteers brings to the event each fall, Nancy Idland of Greenville Main Street, the event's signature sponsor, said.

&#8220We couldn't do all this without the AmeriCorps folks. There is just not enough manpower to do it within the ranks of our Main Street volunteers. Actually, we now consider our AmeriCorps folks to be Main Street volunteers, they have been such a help to us.”

On Thursday, the local AmeriCorps members met with Idland at the Butler County Community and Learning Center to work on preparing items for the children's hands-on art tent at blues fest.

Netting, colored paper, scraps of felt and scissors everywhere attested to a busy morning.

Kista Hinson, Melissa Roper, Angela McDowell, Luann Schofield, Lawanda Roberson, LaToya Gavin, Ashley Bell, Tyesha Cooke , Sheena Thornton, Sheila Albritton, Deandra Sturgeon, Marcy Cook, Gracie Coleman, Andrea Kelly, Vivian D. Bradley, Tammie Shepherd,

Mary Brazell, Patricia Davison and Alma McKee will also be busy next Saturday keeping the community's kids active, creative and safe during the festival, which runs from noon until –

in the area behind the Ritz Theatre.

&#8220The best part of being in AmeriCorps is helping the kids,” said Hinson as she cut out more felt shapes to use for a crafts activity.

Youngsters can look forward to making the festival's fabled newspaper hats, colorful Halloween faces, Halloween coasters and other fun holiday activities with the assistance of the AmeriCorps volunteers.

The ladies will also be supervising children on the rides and games, including the super slide, bouncy castle, bungee run and other activities.

&#8220They do a wonderful job supervising the children and helping make this a safe and happy place for youngsters to come to each year,” Idland said.

As always, these crafts, rides and games are free for the children. Admission to the Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest, with its plethora of musical acts, arts and crafts and southern food specialties, is only $5 for adults. Children 12 and under get in free. For more information, contact Nancy Idland at 354-2802 or visit